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September 13, 2012

Restoration of a Vintage 1950s/1960s Perforated Wall Sconce

By Sara In AZ

Ok, so y’all have probably figured out that I am some kind of crazy project nut by now! I see a vintage ‘pretty’ all messed up……I want to make it all better again. I think I need help! hee!

I came across this old wall sconce at a flea market earlier this summer. It only caught my eye initially because of the shade, so I crossed over to pick it up and examine it.


I thought the metal backer, that the sconce was mounted to, was really interesting .


However, it was not until I turned the sconce over that I realized the metal backer was supposed to be perforated and that all the visible perforations on the front had been filled in/globbed in with white paint. ugh.


It’s SO sad isn’t it?!? Just slathered all over with white paint like that……..


I just could not take it anymore and bought the light for $5. I had to try to bring this light back to some semblance of it’s former glory!


I had some water based stripper left over from when I refinished Mom’s blonde condo doors and I hoped and prayed that this would do the trick to strip that old cruddy paint right off!


I got a disposable foil tray and poured the stripper all over the metal backer. I let it sit for a good 5 to 10 minutes……..


then started scrubbing away. You can see here it was originally a copper color.


Here we see the backer with most of the paint scrubbed off. Let’s just say that it was very tedious to get all of those perforations cleaned out!


Here is the light stripped of all that crazy white paint! Sadly the paint stripping process also stripped off the brown/copper color the metal backer originally had.


I thought I’d try to paint the metal backer  a close match to what I thought the original color was….so I went with a coppery/brown Rustoleum spray paint.


Here is a view from the top down of the wall sconce (before Mike reattached the bulb socket). I think it’s so cool how the sconce flares out just slightly.


And here is the wall sconce all done and looking pretty once again! Yay! for NO globby white paint!


I seriously wish I knew who made this sconce , the only label on the back was the UL label. If anyone out there has any thoughts as to who the manufacturer of this light is please let me know!

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12 Responses to Restoration of a Vintage 1950s/1960s Perforated Wall Sconce

  1. Sherree Reply

    September 13, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I love it! And such a deal.
    Seems like everything made back then was metal and is now painted or rusty 🙁 I spray paint everything! Lamps, shelves, furniture. I should own stock in Rustoleum.
    What will you do with it?

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 13, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks Sherree! I know, I feel like I should own stock in Rustoleum too! 🙂 I’m not sure what I will do with it yet….I suppose keep it for right now. I was trying to hold onto all our vintage lights I’ve been finding along the way until I find our dream retro house, then use what we can and sell the rest!

  2. RetroRuth Reply

    September 13, 2012 at 10:38 am

    Nice job! Too bad about losing the original finish, but I think the sprayed one looks just as nice, and about 100 times nicer than the globbed up white version! 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Thanks Ruth! I was figuring that there would be no way to save that original finish with all the stripping, esp. since it was usually just a top coat. But yeah, it looks SO much better now!!!!!

  3. Silvercat Reply

    September 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    So cute! I don’t understand some people’s obsession with making everything white.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 13, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      Thanks Silvercat! I know…..what is the deal with everything white?!? ugh…………

  4. Andrea Reply

    September 14, 2012 at 2:04 am

    Wow, wow, wow Sara! That turned out great! How is the water based stripper, fumes-wise? I usually buy an organic stripper because I am asthmatic and can’t take the fumes, but it usually takes a lot of work to get the paint off. I’d like something more effective!

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks Andrea! I’d say I really did not notice any fumes at all. I know some of that stuff can just be horrible though. I must say that it did take more scrubbing (and waiting time) than the hardcore strippers I have used in the past….but this might work a bit better than your organic stripper. You might just want to give it a try!

  5. Onyx Reply

    September 14, 2012 at 9:33 am

    That turned out great! Nice job 🙂

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks so much Onyx! 🙂

  6. Eartha Kitsch Reply

    September 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

    When I saw the word “restoration”, I thought, “this has just GOT to be Sara!” : ) That is such a cool sconce and you did a super job of restoring it! I don’t envy you having to get the paint out of all of those little holes on that backplate. I wish that I could rent you for a week. I bet you could finish our kitchen for us.

    • Sara In AZ Reply

      September 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm

      Ha! You know me TOO well then don’t you! I just could not pass that sconce up when I saw it, it looked like it needed someone to rescue it…..poor thing! 😉

      Girl, you know that if we lived closer we’d have that kitchen whipped into shape for you in no time!

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